Cougars defeat Owls, earn first conference title since 2006
The Cougars walked away with a win and the American Athletic Conference Championship after besting the Temple University Owls 24-13 in the AAC’s inaugural championship game.
With the win, Houston claimed their first conference championship since 2006 and only their second 12-win season ever, the first since 2011.
The Cougars started off hot and controlled the game the whole way en route to the historic win.
UH opened the game by intercepting Temple quarterback P.J. Walker on the third play of the game and capitalized immediately.
The Cougars drove 32 yards in 10 plays, where sophomore running back Javin Webb capped the drive with a one-yard rushing touchdown, giving UH the early 7-0 lead.
UH added to their lead in the first drive of the second quarter, with junior kicker Ty Cummings nailing a 24-yard field goal.
Two UH drives later, junior quarterback Greg Ward Jr. again added to the score with a 47-yard scramble for a touchdown, putting the Cougars up 17-0.
Temple got one score back in their last drive before the half with a 40-yard field goal, but Houston took the 17-3 lead into the half.
In the second half, Houston expanded their lead, as Ward recorded his second rushing touchdown of the day to cap a seven-play drive, putting UH up 24-3.
From there, Temple would try to mount a comeback, scoring 10-straight points, but the defense got some crucial stops in the second half to cap the win 24-13.
After the game, head coach Tom Herman talked about the win and how his team played.
“I’m just really excited for our team, that was a tremendous team win,” Herman said. “Heck of a defensive effort but our offense found a way to move the football and score some points against a tremendous defense and really a heck of a team that Temple has…but extremely proud of everybody in that locker room and proud for a great institution and proud for especially the great city of Houston.”
On the day, Ward went 11-21 from the pocket for 88 yards and no touchdowns, but made a huge impact with his legs, rushing 17 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
Wilson also rushed 11 times for 70 yards on the day and junior receiver Chance Allen had three catches for 35 yards.
UH now improves to 12-1 on the season and 8-1 in AAC play and will most likely earn a bid to play in one of the New Year’s 6 bowl games, with a high likelihood of playing in either the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl or the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl, previously sponsored by Vizio.
The final college football playoff rankings and bowl selections will be released Sunday at 2 p.m., when Houston will learn their postseason destination.